During the Cobb Chamber of Commerce’s Marquee Monday luncheon, Braves Development Company President & CEO Mike Plant said The Battery Atlanta is thriving despite the pandemic, and put to rest recent rumors that the Braves organization is looking for a new buyer.
“I think one of the things that defines us and defines a lot of people in business is how to persevere,” Plant said during a fireside chat-style conversation with Chamber Chair John Loud at the Coca-Cola Roxy in The Battery.
“I always say I don’t want to hear the keys jingling at the end of the year. No one caused this to happen,” Plant said. “We all got dealt the same hand and we are going to work with our tenants here to help them battle their way through this.”
Plant said that, over the weekend when the Braves were playing out of town, The Battery adjacent to Truist Park still played host to more than 20,000 cars in its parking decks, which drew applause from the crowd of close to 200 and another 1,000 viewers watching the luncheon virtually.
“Our restaurants, many of them are having a better year than last year, when we were playing games in August,” Plant said. “Ninety-six percent of our tenants are open. We have over $350 million in phase 2. ALoft Hotel is already open. One night a couple weeks ago we had 130 rooms in a 143-room hotel. So we’re better than crawling back.”
Loud ran some numbers on The Battery, which he said now includes:
♦ 840,000 square feet of office space
♦ 500,000 square feet of residential space
♦ 320,000 square feet of hotel space
♦ 250,000 square feet of retail and dining space and
♦ 103,000 square feet dedicated to entertainment.
The Braves are set to host the MLB All Star Game next year, which Plant said will bring major attention to Cobb County.
In his opening remarks, Loud called The Battery and Truist Park “The home that Tim (Lee) and Mike (Plant) built,” referring to the late Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee. Plant spoke fondly of Lee, who worked with Plant to bring the Braves to Cobb, and, speaking of Cobb, Plant added: “There’s no place like it. I’ve said that to the 120 teams that have come from all over the world to look at what was built here.”
Loud added that having the Braves in Cobb has been “an absolute grand slam” for Cobb County, not only through economic impact but through its community involvement and charitable support.
When the Braves announced their move to Cobb in 2013, Plant said there were two main obstacles they were going to have to overcome in the eyes of fans: money and traffic.
“On the money side, we’ve achieved better results than anyone thought,” Plant said. “The traffic part, because we were able to work closely with Cobb DOT and GDOT, and make sure we didn’t take some of the issues we had downtown and move them up here, we were able to have more parking than anyone expected. All of the access around here, the safety aspect of it – Cobb Police, I can’t say enough about how great they are...they’re always right there. It just goes back to proving that if you work together and share a common goal and common vision, you can achieve some incredible results.”
Plant also said that the rumor going around that Liberty Media Corporation was looking to sell the Braves and The Battery was “Hall of Fame fake news,” adding that its recent sale of its residential space in The Battery was always in the plans, before the space was even built.
“Our second quarter for the team was not very flattering,” he admitted, referencing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. “We lost a lot of money. But our team has been around for 150 years. We’re not going anywhere. This team is going to be around for a long time. It’s the longest continued franchise in professional sports. We’ve had zero conversations about selling any assets.”